Loop-punch interaction in Ardour 6.0

In Ardour 5.x I used to often set up a loop range with a smaller punch range inside it and loop in record mode, recording that punch section over and over with a non-recorded lead-in and lead-out.

In Ardour 6.0 (built from source) it seems that activating a loop automatically deactivates the punch-in punch-out options. Effectively while looping, the punch period can only be the loop period.

I understand that the “correct” behaviour is ambiguous when the loop range and an punch range intersect, but the existing behaviour seems unnecessarily restrictive.

“Bugs” in the current behaviour from my perspective:

  1. Cannot use a punch range inside a loop range while looping.
  2. Turning loop on and off changes the state of an unrelated UI element (it turns off the “punch in” and “punch out” lights.)

It was a bug that you could use punch & loop in Ardour5. It never worked correctly, even if you picked a sane combination (punch inside loop, no overlap), the alignment was never correct and an offset accumulated.

IMHO it was a mistake to have separate ranges punch and loop ranges and allow permutations with overlap. It is unrealistic to make all combinations work reliably, or prevent some edge-cases. Besides that it is very hard to implement this and maintain capture alignment. The time required to make it work correctly is in no relationship to the usefulness of the feature.

see also https://tracker.ardour.org/view.php?id=8039#c23905

I pretty much expected a similar response - many of the issues raised in that bug tracker thread occurred to me as possibilities.

Still, it was a bug I frequently exploited, and it is one I shall miss.

Just record the entire loop.
You’ll lose a bit of extra disk space and you’ll have to edit the exact “punch in and out” points afterwards but that shouldn’t be too much of a hassle.

Sure, it’s definitely not a deal-breaker.

But there is a loss of convenience - often I also want to be able to monitor the contents of the track I am recording onto during the lead-in part of the loop. Again, there are ways around this (e.g. record punched-in fragments to a separate “scratchpad track”, then assemble the best takes into final track).

Yes, that. Ardour6 also features cue-monitoring, so you can simply cut out the part (range select delete) that’d you’d punch over, and monitor Disk + Input over the loop.

Also this solves the issue of the musician starting to play a bit early, which would be lost with punch-in.

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Or automate a mute during the actual punch range, instead of cutting it, if you want to keep the original just in case.

That’ll also mute the monitor path through the track.

Sure, that can be a problem if you’re using a soft-synth or a guitar plugin or something. Or if your sound card doesn’t have its own zero-latency monitoring and you’re recording an external keyboard.

I hit the loop button in 6.0 and then hit the record button mid-loop and proceeded to lay down half a dozen odd takes while looping. When I was done, all my takes were transposed in time, by about the offset between the start of the loop and the moment I pressed the record button.

(works fine if I hit the record button first, then hit the loop button.)

Surely THIS is a bug. :wink:

So you hit record while playing ? I thought that it was not possible (because preparing a track for record was too expensive an operation)

It’s always been possible. Global rec enable and per track rec-arm can be toggled while playing.

Ardour keeps stub files on disk around to quickly drop in/out of recording.

Saving the session while recording is what’s expensive. Perhaps you were confusing that.